Being self-employed sounds all nice and romantic until you realise that we are the most financially vulnerable group in this pandemic situation. According to a study by INCEIF (The Global University of Islamic Finance), 71.4% of self-employed have less than one month’s worth of savings.
(Private sector employees aren’t faring much better either – 82.7% have less than 2 months’ of savings.)
The good news is the Economic Stimulus package as announced by the PH government was somewhat useful. I’m sure many of us sighed a big relief upon knowing that we can defer payments for our mortgages, car loans and others (except credit card, which you can restructure), thus freeing up our monthly financial commitments.
The bad news is I know many of your incomes are affected. You’re earning less.
When I posted this DM from a reader, inviting your advice, I saw many comments saying 10% paycut is still considered a good outcome in this situation, as some got up to 75% paycut or even got laid off. Times really are tough, economic stimulus or no.
So what can one do in this situation? The income is not coming in, and savings are dwindling fast!
Thankfully, you’ve gone past the ‘woe is me’ phase and now you’re full-on problem-solving phase. The problem: not enough income. The solution: double-down on finding paying clients.
The assumptions I have about you
The few assumptions I’m making about you are:
- You have identified a skill that you *already have*, that you can sell. You don’t have to learn a new skill, just offer what you’re already doing in your day job (write reports etc)
- You have good work ethics and the ability to solve problems. I’d argue this is more important. Answer your emails and give a project timeline!
- You are willing to directly pitch your services to potential clients.
The last one is important, and the whole point of this article. Instead of applying to jobs in freelancing platforms and online job boards, I invite you to directly contact potential clients and pitch your services to them.
And not just to just 1, 2 clients either. I want you to pitch to a LOT of potential clients. Try 10-20 per day, more if you can. The more fishing rods you leave out, the better your chances in hooking a client in.
The Exact Email Template You Can Use to Get Hired by Clients
Now that you have your fishing rods out, let’s improve your bait – your email. Use this email template. I’ve personally used a variation of this email template and it worked for me, and I hope it’ll work for you, too.
Important: Don’t copy word-for-word – tweak to suit your style and use it when pitching your services to clients. You can also tweak to turn it into a text script, or conversation.
Hi [Client’s Name],
My name is [your name], and [say something nice about the company/products/services].
I’m reaching out because noticed that [describe a problem* the Client is facing]. You can solve it by [short description of the solution]. In my experience, [the solution] helps companies such as yours to [get more sales/get more clients/earn bigger revenue/etc].
Let me know if you need help – I have [x] years of experiences in [your profession] and happy to have a chat. You can explore my past work at [link to online portfolio/LinkedinProfile etc].
Send me a reply if you’d like to explore further!
Signed,[Your name] [Your email signature]
Short, right? Yet it has everything it needs – identification of problem, an offer for a solution, and a sense of ‘I am pleasant and professional to work with’.
Let me emphasise here that at no point you are a sleazy salesperson, so do not give off those vibes! Your job is to solve problems for the client, so they in turn can be in a better position to weather this recession, too.
Also important: you want to be firm that you are NOT offering your services for free, because some clients might look at it that way, or try to extract free work from you. If the ‘chat’ turns into more than 20-minutes and they keep pressuring you to tell them the exact solutions without paying you, cut them off. Look for mutual you-win-I-win outcome, always.
*the problem can range from:
- a bug/technical error – if you’re a developer
- lack of website or online presence – if you’re a website builder or social media marketer
- non-performing ads – if you’re a copywriter, digital marketer
- lack of visuals – if you’re a graphic designer/photographer
Example email (Writing service)
Let me show you how I’d write a pitch email to a potential client.
My name is Suraya, and I’ve been a fan of [Company] for a long time. I love using [the Company’s product]!.
I’m reaching out because I noticed that [the Company’s product] description in the website is confusing to understand – it took a while for me to figure it out. You can solve it by adding a visual aid and simpler copywriting, perhaps an infographic. In my experience, an easier reading experience converts more readers into customers.
Let me know if you need help – I have 10 years of experiences in communications work and happy to have a chat. You can explore my past website copywriting work at [link to online portfolio], and as an added bonus I’m happy to share to my audience, who fit your target demographic.
Send me a reply if you’d like to explore further!
How’s that? Simple, clean, to the point. I don’t even include CV, or any attachments – just links. I leave it to them to make the next move, ball’s in their court. If they hire me, good. If they took my idea and solve it on their own, then so be it. No bad vibes.
After you sent that email, find another potential client then another potential client and repeat sending out those emails until you get a steady flow of clients. Remember to personalise each of them because everyone hates ‘Dear Sir/Madam’!
(And once, I got ‘Dear Blogger’???!!!)
To the ones you sent an email to, follow up once, twice, and if they don’t reply, forget about them and move on to the next. Rejection is part of the process, and it’ll happen a lot. It’s okay.
Don’t stop. The key is just to not stop trying. Keep on improving your email text to fit your style. Keep improving your portfolio. Keep looking. Keep this up, keep hustling, and in time you’ll find more clients than you know what to do with, I promise.
I’ll end this article with the following related reads:
- The Exact Steps I Use to Earn Online in Malaysia. You’ll find out my own rough journey, so yours can be a bit more efficient (speed matters – you don’t have time to test what doesn’t work)
- How to Charge Clients: 5 Methods Freelancers Can Use – When an interested client replies back and asks you about your rates!
- [PERSONAL] How I Get Great Clients Who Pay & Treat Me Well – always get at least 50% upfront deposit before you start work. The last thing I want for you is you wasting time for a non-paying client and running out of savings.
All the best out there, you can do this!